Barbara Barnett is Co-Executive Editor of Blogcritics, an Internet magazine of pop culture, politics and more owned by Technorati Media. Always a pop-culture geek, Barbara was raised on a steady diet of TV (and TV dinners), but she always found her way to TV’s antiheroes and misunderstood champions, whether on TV, in the movies or in literature.
Barnett’s regular column, “Welcome to the End of the Thought Process: An Introspective Look at House, M.D.” features insightful episode commentaries and interviews with the House cast and creative team. It is the place for intelligent discussion of the hit television series starring Hugh Laurie.
Barbara has had an eclectic career. With an undergraduate degree in biology and minors in chemistry and English, she pursued a PhD in Public Policy Analysis after spending a few years working in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Her first professional writing gig was with a food industry trade magazine, and although it wasn’t exactly like writing for The New Yorker, it completely hooked her on the profession of writing.
She also writes lots of other things, including technology (from a non-geek perspective), the movies, politics and all things Jewish. Based in the north shore suburbs of Chicago, Barnett is married with two brilliant children and a dog. Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. is her first (commercial) book. She hopes it’s not her last.
Visit Barbara’s website at www.barbarabarnett.com.
by Barbara Barnett
1. The character of House is loosely based on Sherlock Holmes (as you might know). But you may not have known that writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created Sherlock Holmes was a also doctor. His mentor was the very House-like Dr. Joseph Bell! (Bell’s medical text On Surgery makes a guest appearance in the season five episode “A Wonderful Lie”)
2. Hugh Laurie composed the beautiful, evocative piano piece that plays over the closing scenes of season five’s “Unfaithful.” The piece is appropriately titled “Cuddy’s Seranade.”
3. House has dual board certifications in Infectious Diseases and Nephrology, both subspecialties of internal medicine. Diagnostic Medicine is a purely fictional medical specialty (at least for now!).
4. House must have an affinity for disabled musical geniuses. A biography of deaf 19th century composer Ludwig von Beethoven sits on House’s piano in season one, and he also keeps a poster featuring disabled drummer/bandleader Chick Webb close by (it’s been seen both in his apartment and in his office).
5. Several of the actors on House have real life doctors in their families. Hugh Laurie’s father was a physician; Lisa Edelstein’s father is also a doctor, and Jesse Spencer has several docs in his family, including his father and siblings.
6. Omar Epps is a ranked chess master, which must’ve come in handy when the season three episode “The Jerk” was being filmed.
7. Are you a fan of the Harold and Kumar movies? If so, then you may have noticed that both Harold and Kumar have been on House (though never together!). John Cho (Harold) was the “patient of the week” in the season one episode “Love Hurts.” Kal Penn (Kumar) was the much-beloved Kutner, who was a House fellow in season four and in season five (until the character committed suicide).
Medical students are taught that when they hear hoofbeats, they should think horses, not zebras, but Dr. House’s unique talent of diagnosing unusual illnesses has made House, M.D. one of the most popular and fascinating series on television. In Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., Barbara Barnett, co-executive editor of Blogcritics magazine and widely considered a leading House expert, takes fans deep into the heart of the show’s central character and his world, examining the way this medical Sherlock Holmes’s colleagues and patients reflect him and each other; how the music, settings, and even the humor enhance our understanding of the series’ narrative; what the show says about modern medicine, ethics, and religion; and much more. Complete with an episode-by-episode guide and quotes from her numerous Blogcritics interviews with cast members, producers, and writers, Chasing Zebras is an intelligent look at one of television’s most popular shows.